The Stacks of Science Hill

When students hear “The Stacks,” they immediately think of Sterling Memorial Library and its 15 levels of library materials, primarily books, covered in a thin layer of dust. While this version of the Stacks is dim and dusty, up on Science Hill, Yale has another version of the infamous Stacks.

Tucked away beneath Steep Café lies the Marx Science and Social Science Library. The Marx Library, formerly known as the Center for Science and Social Science Information (CSSI), is underground. Although many students pass by the Marx Library on their way to class, only a few students know of the library because of its inconspicuous entrance. Truthfully, I was one of those students during the beginning of my fall semester. However, because of my campus job as a library assistant, I was introduced to one of the best study spots on campus.

When students enter the Marx Library, they are presented with many different seating options for their study session. On the upper level, students have access to computers equipped with statistical analysis tools and geographic information systems. Along with this, there are study rooms that students can reserve and large whiteboards students can use when they work on their problem sets. While the first level of the Marx Library is an excellent study space because of its spacious and well-lit interior and accessibility to resources, the lower level of the Marx Library is what makes the Marx Library one of my favorite study locations.  

It is in the lower level of the Marx Library where students can find the Stacks of Science Hill. Unlike the Stacks in Sterling, the Stacks in the Marx Library are well lit, and the books are in pristine condition. Adjacent to the Stacks, students can study in many different places. From large tables equipped with multiple outlets to comfortable armchair/desk hybrids, there is a space for everyone at the Marx Library. 

Although the Marx Library is not the only space at Yale with good lighting and a plethora of seating options, its charm is in its quietness. Since only a few people are studying at the Marx Library at any given time, it is rare to be distracted by a boisterous group of students. During finals week when all of the seminar rooms are occupied, and Bass is filled with students, the Marx Library is quiet and great for the last-minute study sessions. Most of all, the charm of the Marx Library resides in its staff. After working in the Marx Library this past semester, I can say with confidence that the staff at the Marx Library are some of the kindest people I’ve met, from the workers by the front desk to the security officers and the managers. Although I may be ruining the quietness of the Marx Library, I’m glad other students will be able to appreciate it as much as I do.